What's the deal with superfoods? Which ones live up to the claims and which fall short? Here are your must-buy superfoods for a fit, healthy and hot body.
Not only are eggs cheap, plentiful and convenient, but whole eggs are a bona-fide nutritional powerhouse. Eat your yolks! Eggs are a great source of protein, but the yolks are where it's at. Egg yolks are a great source of iron, zinc, potassium and all vitamins (except vitamin C), particularly vitamins A, D, E and all eight of the B vitamins. Egg yolks from happy, healthy birds are packed with healthy fats to support brain and nervous system development and contain high levels of important amino acids. Don't feel tied to chicken eggs: why not try duck eggs?
All dark green leafy vegetables are healthy and should be eaten in abundance, but if you want to tick the superfoods list, try eating more kale. It's rammed with natural antioxidants, iron and calcium as well as a long list of nutrients and micronutrients, vitamins, anti-oxidants and fibre. Kale contains over 45 flavanoids (which are anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory). It's particularly high in calcium, lutein, iron, beta-carotene, and Vitamins A, C, and K. But what's really special about kale is the amount of phytochemicals it contains. Phytochemicals protect against cell damage and are even thought to reduce cancer cell replication, help manage diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
Love it or hate it, liver from pasture-fed, healthy chickens or cows is an incredibly nutritious food which is also very cheap, making it a budget way to eat a superfood. Packed with vitamin A, iron and vitamin B12, chicken or beef liver is a great way to get usable minerals and vitamins into your body for quick absorption and digestion. Just 100g liver contains huge amounts of vitamin A, B2 (riboflavin) and B12, copper, folate and other B vitamins. Eating liver even helps your body absorb nutrients from other foods. It's called nature's multivitamin for a reason!
We all need more omega-3 fatty acids in our diets, and oily coldwater fish is the easiest way to get optimal amounts. Try wild (not farmed) salmon, trout, herring, mackerel or sardines. Try to eat a portion (100-200g) oily fish 2-3 times per week. Our Western diets are deficient in omega-3s, and usually contain far too much omega-6 and omega-9. Omega-3s lower the risk of heart disease, improve conditions like arthritis, and can even help with memory loss, depression and Alzheimer's.
Garlic is a pungent, tasty herb which does a lot more than just taste nice. It's packed with bioactive compounds including allicin which is a powerful anti-bacterial agent. Garlic is good for the blood, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Go for fresh rather than powdered or supplements whenever you can.
All nuts are healthy, but walnuts deserve a particular mention as they are so high in omega-3 fatty acids called alpha linolenic acid (ALA). They are also high in plant sterols and dietary fibre, and a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, copper, and folate. Of all the nuts, walnuts have the highest overall level of antioxidant activity.
Brightly coloured berries are full of anti-oxidants, nature's way of protecting cells from oxidative damage.They're also high in dietary fibre which keeps our digestive system healthy and helps our body detox itself. And they are a great low-sugar option, lower in sugar than other fruits (and even some vegetables) and sweet enough to satisfy cravings. Keep frozen berries in the freezer throughout winter so you always have them on hand for smoothies, desserts and snacks.
There's no need to buy superfood supplements or seek out exotic ingredients in specialist shops. Nature's best and most potent superfoods are cheap, abundant and widely available.